Rescuers to leave no stone unturned in search for landslide victims

GEORGE TOWN: The Fire and Rescue Department says its men will not leave the Bukit Kukus landslide site until they are done scouring the area in full to recover remains of victims.

“We are not going to leave until we have finished every sector, inch by inch,” said Mohammad Shoki Hamzah, the department’s deputy chief in Penang.

Rescuers had scoured 80% of the 100,000 sq ft area hit by an avalanche of mud from a 50m hillslope last Friday.

Some 100 rescue workers have been digging the area from 8am to 8pm daily.

Shoki said the focus was to dig right up to the ground to search for victims.

He said two dead cats, too, were retrieved from the landslide.

On Friday afternoon, a hill slope bearing an elevated road column came down on 13 worker cabins.

Out of 13 foreign workers from Bangladesh, Indonesia and Myanmar who were trapped, four survived with injuries. Eight bodies have been extricated so far.

Shoki said rescue workers only managed to find 12 workers’ cabin-containers, despite the contractors saying there were a total of 13 containers on the site.

“We wonder where this mystery container is. But rest assured we will search for it,” he said.

Earlier, Penang Island mayor Yew Tung Seang revealed there was a small water stream on the higher elevation, which he said could be a likely cause of the landslide.